Now here is a review I don’t even really need to write because let’s face it, you already know damn well if you plan on watching 12 Rounds. There’s nobody on the fence about this one. It’s an action movie with former WWE wrestler John Cena and directed by the guy who did Die Hard 2 and Deep Blue Sea. That sentence alone tells you everything you need to know about this movie. But just in case you are indeed one of the undecided, let me break it down for you a little bit more.
12 Rounds is a bit of a throwback to the golden era of action movies. This is when action movies were awesome, pretty silly, but never self-aware. There was none of that hand-held, quick edit Bourne stuff we see constantly these days. John Cena himself said he wants it so when you see his name attached to a movie, you know it’s going to be a kick-ass classic action movie. I respect the hell out of that. Although both of Cena’s movies (The Marine being the other one, which I enjoyed the hell out of) haven’t quite hit the level of quality some of those 80’s/early 90’s action movies did (Commando still being the one to beat in my eyes), they do provide some solid entertainment for those willing to go along for the ride.
Wow that last sentence was such a movie review cliché. Ok moving on. The plot is pretty straight forward, as it should be in this kind of movie. In the beginning Cena is chasing down…I think he was an arms dealer…and in the process the dealer’s girlfriend ends up getting killed. For reasons I’m still not clear on, the bad guy blames Cena for this. Even Cena feels guilty about it but when you see what happened, it really wasn’t his fault at all. But whatever. So a year later the bad guy breaks out of jail, kidnaps Cena’s wife, and forces him to play a game, which consists of yes, 12 Rounds. Each one requires Cena to be awesome and stop bombs or speeding, out-of-control cable cars. If he fails? Molly dies. And that is our story kids.
The phrase “non-stop action” is thrown around a lot when it comes to movies. Usually when you watch the actual movie, the action stops quite frequently. 12 Rounds really doesn’t. I think people stand around and talk for maybe 7 minutes total. The rest is running around, getting into car chases, climbing through elevator shafts, etc. It almost gets a little exhausting by the end. The length is one of my bigger gripes with the movie. It could probably have been like 9 Rounds and nothing would be affected.
Cena isn’t the best leading man ever, but he’s not bad. I doubt he could ever do serious drama (prove me wrong Cena, prove me wrong) but he carries the movie just fine. The supporting cast doesn’t get much to do. Make no mistakes about it, this is absolutely the Cena show. The bad guy is a little generic, and his motivation throughout the movie is pretty lame, but you want to see him die really badly so they must have done something right.
I have to say, I quite enjoyed this movie. I was in the mood for just a solid, Saturday afternoon action movie and this one delivered. As long as you are aware of what you’re getting into, I think you can definitely have some fun with this one.